Looking Through Glass Houses

Ever since I peeped at Philip Johnson’s glass house in New Canan, I have wondered how really comfortable it was to live there.  How would one do a glass house nowadays?  What kind of site is required to justify the expanse of glass?  How tall a glass wall would I have before thinking it’s too much?

The first thing to consider is where the glass wall should be gracing.  While it is obvious that most glass houses would save the expanse of glass for the living areas, one might think that circulation areas such as stairwells are as conducive to having a glass surrounding.  The view out from inside should dictate how much glass to dedicate to.  Where the view is 360 degrees is where we find our glass houses.

dfa81e3d8809dca94171ce71e6520eee

757c2fc160f0e4989abda304eefeeabf

b1fe35c75c8e4e50d2b4e96a60e6f4ff

The shape of the glass house. Is it always box?  Thinking back the original glass houses- the conservatories-  They took on the most elaborate shapes with curving roof lines, intricate roof shapes and patterns.  The Crystal Palace had a barrel vault central space.  How ingeniously done, Mr Paxton.

c47978425f53e9ae7a9f807322e049c3

762dee27e6fe54bde3eb55b8d03d326f0f2a3dd385655fc1d8be19a566e940a7

The modern glass houses however are mainly squarish and rectangular in shape.  There is something quite poetic in the simplicity of glass cubes or rectangular boxes.  The focus is then on the glass when the shape is “nothing to write home about”.

Before Philip Johnson’s Glass House, we also have the Barcelona Pavillion and the  Farnsworth house by Mies van der Rohe.  Both buildings explored the absence of walls – the first was about continuity of spaces while the second was more about non confinement of spirits.93b12f2349a7f93b6e21ed37286baf1b

Projekt: Farnsworth House Architekt: Mies van der Rohe

c73eeb974f776c2b2b58e00a5ec2df95

5ba9cdee2c18a75b5f1c2c438be36ceb

Some glass houses add on roofs for practicality as well as for giving them a more homey image.

55ca2eee2efef713bc77eefc66804ac8ad538439b7c6aba958d652175efbf21321fb4bb6eaeef7cdc536a4d9bb1a5db1132a8d376d4f123403e213d32477af9fThe deconstructed house look.

Sometimes,  a large  flat roof overhang would do to keep the house looking throroughly modern while keeping mundane things like water out of the picture…9e507b0e8089d9364c7ca7022ed4f468b44023109cdbeb0f6fd888e27d4b66f5

A curved roof cures it all.  After all, curved roofs lend themselves to modern homes quite well especially when they are of one generous swoop.

4e785bf0d821c244dec9ad9363683f24254deec51066a40f5d75f1260be3b368c14116873b13481c59ec5af555e14cfa

The division of glass is where most efforts are concentrated as we can’t have too large a sheet of glass.  Working with the curtain wall pattern is never more crucial.

90fdd90aba2c98498fc4af66ef41b65fOne can go seamless.

417e93ee647b499ddac4a5418fdf3e52Banding can be so attractive.

4fdc410e696c4c90c89486c03a2d2a05A simple grid would do.

988011865b53bba4a6f60eb980d52992Horizontal slats in various spacing are quite effective.

The issue of privacy. One can compose the facade with a few solid blocked walls for private rooms such as bathrooms.

0914762967297d01f9bbf48f51b9aab0

c5dde5c8caa13f21512f4e580a5555d5Use horizontal slats where transparency is not relished.

6234ebd666d0f1d6b116a635a7c68840Privacies afforded on a lower floor.

7fface0e57e32310530da6e15a9bc77dTake it further- Privacies on the lower plinth.

5f236ce79f2a1729ad1e3a14136603e1Movable screens are another solution to the question of privacy.

294849cff4bccbd0872b4a0c26eb0ed1Philip Johnson had an inner circular core saved for the bathroom.

Any glass house worth its glass should have a view to kill for – otherwise having glass would have been a moot point.  The view from inside should explain it all.

b977d79003f9f85f8b5b09a7c9e52e16

22dc0715222f6026a818a56d5a73ec38

0b2275aabc8bb1bec9954a577aec43c3e3eabcc6bf0969d4be2368fe11c710eb

If  only we could live in absolute transparency, forever forego subterfuge and embrace clarity…

d4f678c1d5690390e968bed10bdc6de8

123b15f0487678e2c6ca4901af3886d5

Why ever not?

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s